When you want to lose weight, the pounds never seem to come off fast enough. But it is important for long-term success in keeping the weight off to have a slow and steady approach to weight loss. Extreme diets leave you starving and cranky, sluggish and drained, and set you up for failure. Remember that you have to find what works for you and you should focus on losing 1-2 lbs/week at the most. Some guidelines for healthy weight loss are that it needs to be a lifestyle, not a short-term diet. Find support from friends and family to help you in your journey. Set short-term goals to help keep you motivated through the process. And use tools, such as a food diary, to help track your progress and keep you on track. Below are some tips on how to succeed on your weight loss journey and stay happy and healthy in the process.
1. Avoid common pitfalls. Don’t cut out entire food groups and don’t severely cut calories. Your metabolism with slow down and the weight will come back on quicker if you do this. Also, don’t give up if you splurge or give in to a temptation. Keep your head and get back on track. And don’t give in to diet companies and their promises…you will only be disappointed and dissatisfied.
2. Stop emotional eating. Recognize your emotional triggers and respond with healthier choices. When you are bored, stressed or lonely, find other ways to de-stress and reward yourself, such as reading a book, taking a bath or calling a friend.
3. Tune in when you eat. Pay attention while you are eating and avoid distractions when you eat. This can help prevent you from overeating.
4. Fill up on fruits & veggies. High-fiber foods are higher in volume and take longer to chew, but they also take longer to digest so you feel fuller, longer. Fruits & vegetables have a high fiber and water content which makes them hard to overeat or eat too many calories. Try adding fruit to cereal and veggies to your omelet. Fruits & veggies to consume in moderation: breaded or fried, salads drenched in dressing, dried fruit and fruit juice.
5. Indulge without overindulging. Combine your treat with other healthy foods, i.e. ice cream with fruit. Schedule your treats and make your indulgences less indulgent, i.e. swap butter and oil for applesauce when baking. Make sure you engage all your senses when eating your treat! And don’t ban any foods because it will set you up for failure.
6. Take charge of your food environment. Set yourself up for success by controlling when you eat, how much you eat, and what is available to eat. Serve yourself smaller portions, cook your own meals and don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry.
7. Make healthy lifestyle changes. Get plenty of sleep (shoot for 8 hours) and plenty of exercise (30 min/day – break it up into 10 min increments). Drink more water because thirst can be confused with hunger. And try turning off the TV!
Other things to consider are taking care of yourself by controlling your stress and taking time to relax and recharge. Stress can sabotage weight loss because stress hormones can cause your body to store fat. Find ways to de-stress to help you stay healthy and sane! Good luck!